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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Juan Tellez operated an auto salvage yard in the city of Socorro in El Paso County. He alleges that six months after he purchased an adjacent lot in 1998 for the same use, the city enacted its first zoning laws and designated the lot as residential. Tellez filed suit after the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment denied his application for a nonconforming use permit. The trial court affirmed the board, and Tellez appealed again. Rather than reaching the merits, the 8th Court of Appeals dismissed the suit sua sponte for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The court outlined the procedures for challenging a zoning board’s decision. Texas Local Government Code �211.011(a)-(c) requires such challenges to be filed within 10 days after a board’s decision, to be made by “verified petition stating that the decision of the board of adjustment is illegal . . . and specifying the grounds of the illegality,” and to be initiated by writ of certiorari directed to the board indicating when its “return” must be made. The court stated that under its 1993 opinion Davis v. Zoning Board of Adjustment, service of the writ was the procedure by which a trial court conducts its review; jurisdiction exists “[o]nce a party files a petition within ten (10) days after a zoning board decision . . . .” In this case, the court stated, the 8th Court dismissed Tellez’s suit, because he sued the city of Socorro rather than its zoning board and because his petition did not specify how the board’s decision was illegal. The city never objected to either defect. Although a party cannot waive subject-matter jurisdiction, the court stated that a party can waive such procedural defects, because they do not affect subject-matter jurisdiction. While the Local Government Code does not specify against whom suit should be filed, the court stated that its requirements suggest that zoning boards are the proper party, as they must be served with the writ, file a verified answer and pay costs if found to have acted in bad faith. But whether suit should be dismissed because no party joined the zoning board as a defendant is a prudential rather than jurisdictional question, the court stated. The court held that the city, by failing to object, waived any complaint that the proper party was its appointed board. OPINION:Per curiam.

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